Tuesday, June 19, 2018

What a Difference a Storm Makes

Over the weekend we had a couple of glorious winter's days. Lots of sun and not too much wind tempted me out into the garden. Not that it takes all that much to tempt me into the garden you understand. Normally just a break in showers is enough but this time the weather was truly glorious so every time I took a break from writing I wandered outside and spent a bit of time doing some garden chores. On Saturday this included spraying the cabbage family for caterpillars - I go the non toxic route of BT, a naturally occurring bacteria that kills the little beasties but doesn't harm anything else. Now all I need is something similar to deal with the snails. I can see where they've been busily chomping but where they hide during the day still eludes me.

When Sunday proved equally lovely I splashed around a bit of liquid fertilser and scattered some NPK around among other things. Since I was by no means lavish with either of the fertilisers I wasn't expecting much to happen quickly or otherwise, just for the plants to keep on growing steadily so when I'd finished and tidied up I came inside thinking more about my story than plants. Then around midnight there was an almighty crash of thunder and the heavens opened.The heavy rain and thunder only lasted about twenty minutes then everything quietened down so I went back to sleep.

On Monday, apart from a quick morning check for storm damage and to see if the roof was intact - it was, phew - I wasn't even thinking about the garden until around midday when I was standing looking at the flower bed outside the family room and talking to Pisces while idly wondering if the daffodils were ever going to come up when I noticed something. Where on Saturday there hadn't been a sign of daffodil shoots now they were everywhere and most were around 3-5 centimetres tall. I hadn't put any fertiliser on that bed because I ran out - note to self get some more fertiliser ASAP - and there they were growing almost before my eyes. As well every leaf had turned brilliant green. Hmm, I thought,  as I headed out to the veggies. There wasn't a plant there that hadn't grown. The tiny carrot plants that were barely showing the day before were now now 3-4 centimetres high, the peas that had been sitting barely moving for days were well on their way up the trellis and the chard, kale and pak choi had nearly doubled in size.

Of course, some of this is down to the fertilser but most I suspect is due to the nitrogen brought by the storm. You don't have to be a gardener to notice how the plants green up after a storm - storms generate a lot of nitrogen in the form of nitrates that plants feast on. While I don't want regular storms with severe winds and damage like those we've had several times over the past month - hence the roof check - smaller ones like the latest with a brief flurry of light and sound and a short, heavy rain shower watering the garden as well as supplying it with nitrogen are very welcome as far as I'm concerned - even if they do send Puss under the bed in a panic.

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